Primark, one of the fastest-growing fashion chains in Europe, uses recyclable materials, makes clothing more durable and improves workers’ wages.
At the same time, it has promised to reduce its environmental impact without raising prices.
Environmental advocates are rallying the fashion industry for heavy use of water and chemicals, leading brands are under pressure to adapt to the supply chain and tackle a culture that has resulted in millions of items running out of landfills, according to a report.
Primark, which sells more than a billion items a year including jumpers and jeans for as little as 7 pounds ($10) each, said its task was to make sustainable fashion available for all, not just those who can afford it.
“We believe that sustainability shouldn’t be priced at a premium that only a minority can afford,” CEO Paul Marchant said.
Also, echoing rivals such as H&M and Zara that have also set out plans to improve the use of sustainable raw materials.
On the other hand, many environmental campaigners are skeptical about green pledges from brands, believing they are driven by a need for good PR.
But the industry requires a wider culture change instead. Primark says its sheer size means it can make a difference.
Owned by Associated British Foods, Primark started in Ireland in 1969 before taking Britain by storm with its ultra-low prices that have led droves of shoppers to emerge from stores clutching its trademark brown paper bags stuffed full of clothes.
Recently it is in 14 markets, including the United States.
Although the British company had previously joined the industry’s efforts on the environment, Wednesday’s statement revealed for the first time that it had its own measurable target.
Under the plan, a team of workers will work with its factories – which are not owned.
Single use will eliminate plastics and continue to change farming methods that use less water and less chemicals to improve energy efficiency and encourage the use of renewable electricity.
It also plans to strengthen the durability of fabrics by 2025, recycle them by design by 2027, and make all of its fabrics from recyclable or more durable materials by 2030.
On top of these changes, it plans to work with factories and competitors that use the same site to improve wages.
Among them, the situation of workers in the textile industry since the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh in 2013, where more than a thousand workers died, has also been discussed.